Friday, January 22, 2010

Will We Have "Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever" Forever? The Grim Prospects for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

I tend to think that some of the pessimistic reponse (e.g., President Obama's legislative agenda is dead, he will be a one term President, the sky is falling, etc.) to the loss of a single Democratic seat in the U.,S. Senate is overblown.  Still, there are some very ominous storm clouds on the horizon when it comes to possible immigration reform in 2010.  

News reports suggests that DHS Secretary Janet ("Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever") Napolitano will continue to be the Obama administration's point person on immigration reform.  Rumors have it that the U.S. Senate's immigration reform proposa,, which has not bee introduced yet, will likely be tougher on immigrants than the last one that failed in the Senate.  It is hard to believe that, with the immigration enforcement-devoted Secretary at the immigration reform helm, immigration reform will be worth the candle.  In my estimation, if President Obama is unwilling to take a leadership role on the issue (and expend sufficient political capital on immigration reform) -- and note that the administration has been mum on the immigration proposal introduced by Representative Luis Gutierrez in December, immigrration reform is on life support, if not DOA.

To make matters worse, the anti-reform forces are beginning to mount a legislative attack.  Doug Rivlin on GrayRiv on Immigration reports that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) joined several members of Congress (see list below) to introduce an anti-immigration reform-oriented resolution. Even though the resolution would be a non-binding, it would put Representatives on record in support of two propositions:

1.  MORE ENFORCEMENT:  That all employers be required to first check every person they hire against a federal government database known as E-verify in order to get clearance that the person has the ability to work legally in the U.S.; and

2.  NO LEGALIZATION:  That no person who is in the United States illegally can have legal status.

Those signing on to the non-binding resolution:

John Barrow (D-GA)

Bobby Bright (D-AL)

Travis Childers (D-MS)

Mike Coffman (R-CO)

John Fleming (R-LA)

Gregg Harper (R-MS)

Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)

Steve Kagen (D-WI)

Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)

Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)

Patrick Murphy (D-PA)

Glenn Nye (D-VA)

Pete Olson (R-TX)

Bill Posey (R-FL)

Phil Roe (R-TN)

Heath Shuler (D-NC)  Too bad the NFL did not work out for Heath!

Gene Taylor (D-MS)

Sorry to start Friday on such a gloomy note but maybe it is time to start the weekend!


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